I was chatting with a group of ladies over coffee last week. We were discussing the trials and tribulations of expat life and how it felt when your sea freight shipment finally arrived. One person said, “When you see all your stuff, it’s like you remember who you are.” (This was said with a Louisiana accent which reminded me of Brett’s cousins already reminding me of who we are/where we’re from.) I thought about that often on Tuesday when our shipment finally arrived. It is so true.
Brett said that he couldn’t remember the last time he saw me so excited. I was jumping up and down with maybe a touch too much coffee. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!
It has been 7 weeks since we’ve seen the vast majority of our belongings. It might seem crazy but we legit forgot that we owned some of this stuff so in some ways it was like surprises on Christmas morning! The movers do what they can to bring things in and cart off the crazy amount of boxes and packaging material but the house is still full of it. Half of our kitchen items will have to be stored in the garage and brought up when needed. Our couch didn’t fit through the door, the hall or the stairs. It’s currently hanging in the garage with the extra kitchen stuff. Our bed didn’t make it up the stairs either. Our mattress was fine since it bends but not the bed. You don’t realize how true the statement is about things being bigger in Texas until you try to shove it into your tiny semi-detached/terraced UK home. We’re going to have to buy another couch which will end up looking like dollhouse furniture next to the other things from home. Even the size of our art/pictures is massive when you put it on these little walls.
I brought our nicer china. Why did I do this? Who will I have over for holidays to use it? Like no one. That was just a waste of a packing box and storage space! Don’t be surprised now if I break it out when you’re here for no reason!
Major cultural/lifestyle differences:
Is the news a reflection of society or does it shape society and cultural norms? I’m currently watching the BBC Scotland morning news. For one, there is no cutesy type stuff. There’s no music when it starts, no puns, minimal banter between anchors – if there are multiple anchors. People come on the news to give information, not opinions, and they’re given as much time as they need to share that info without anyone trying to hurry them off before the commercial break. For example, there’s someone on right now explaining and answering questions on how the price of oil effects the global economy. His segment was 10 minutes long. The next time you watch Good Morning America or the evening news, time how long they have someone talk. It’s far from a 10 minute segment. When topics regarding America are covered, which they are with regularity, facts are reported. Hurricane Florence has been covered as much as the weather for the whole of the UK. (And, the weatherperson doesn’t yell at you. They calmly explain what they think will happen. Why do American weatherpeople feel the need to yell the weather at us? I didn’t understand the whole Americans are loud thing before I moved here. But we are! Good grief! I now understand why Americans are sometimes referred to as excited Labrador puppies.)
Additionally, news anchors are normal looking people of normal size (like not models turned news anchors) which seems to go along with the theme we’ve experienced here of being judged by your inside, and not your outside. One of the typical anchors on the morning news I watch is a bit chesty. She occasionally wears button up shirts and there is typically a gap in the chest level buttons. You know what I’m talking about. THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO AMERICAN NEWS ANCHORS. The effect though isn’t a gasp at the fashion faux pas but makes you feel like you’re normal! It kind of eliminates the need for that “Just like US!” section in US Weekly.
I imagine that it is quite different the closer you get to London but here fashion isn’t much of a thing. I’m not saying that to say that no one here looks nice or dresses well. Plenty of people do. It’s just that I get the feeling that you aren’t judged on it; that your quirks are embraced. They wear far less makeup, far less dyed hair – it’s definitely there but there’s not this overwhelming need by people to be blonde. (Yes, I’m well aware that I’m one of those.)
These might seem like really small things to notice but I feel like they contribute significantly to the overall feeling here.
Many people are hoping that Brooks comes back home with a Scottish accent. It has been FASCINATING to see what language he ends up using since he’s around the accent and terminology all day at school. So far, he has an increased interest in recycling and is referring to a trash can as a bin. He’s also saying that things “will take ages” instead of “a long time.”
Some pics of the kids this week – mainly Mia as Brooks takes off to play outside and with friends the second he gets home from school.